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New Readable Preface - The Goal Of Knowledge

NEW EDITION PROJECT

READABILITY IMPROVED  1.3 GRADE LEVEL

1995 Intuitive Thinking As A Spiritual Path translated by Michael Lipson
Number of Words: 1425
Reading Grade Level: 12.30

2016 The Philosophy Of Freedom (see below)
Number of Words: 1402
Reading Grade Level: 11 .07

edited 12/22/16

THE GOAL OF KNOWLEDGE

What is the goal of knowledge?
0.0 Striving For Individuality
0.1 Conviction Of Inner Truth
0.2 Empowered By Truth
0.3 Comprehensible Truth
0.4 Advancing In Knowledge From Experience
0.5 Driven To A View By Own Need
0.6 Living The Principles Of Individuality
0.7 Practicing Pure Thinking
0.8 A Wholistic Approach To Science, Art, And Philosophy
0.9 A Science Of Freedom
0.10 Reaching The Human Ideal
0.11 Ethical Use Of Science
0.12 Master Of Ideas

0.0 Striving For Individuality
[1] I BELIEVE one of the fundamental characteristics of our age is that human interest centers in the culture of individuality. An energetic effort is being made to shake off every kind of authority. Nothing is accepted as valid, unless it springs from the roots of individuality. Everything that hinders the individual from fully developing his powers is thrust aside. The saying “Each one of us must choose his hero in whose footsteps he toils up to Mount Olympus” no longer holds true for us. We allow no ideals to be forced upon us. We are convinced that in each of us, if only we probe deep enough into the very heart of our being, there dwells something noble, something worthy of development. We no longer believe there is a norm of human life to which we must all strive to conform. We regard the perfection of the whole as depending on the unique perfection of each single individual. We do not want to do what anyone else can do equally well. No, our contribution to the development of the world, however trifling, must be something that, by reason of the uniqueness of our nature, we alone can offer. Never have artists been less concerned about rules and norms in art than today. Each one asserts the right to express, in the creations of his art, what is unique in him. Just as there are playwrights who write in slang rather than conform to the standard diction grammar demands.

[2] No better expression for these phenomena can be found than this, they result from the individual’s striving towards freedom, developed to its highest pitch. We do not want to be dependent in any respect, and where dependence must be, we tolerate it only on condition it coincides with a vital interest of our individuality.

0.1 Conviction Of Inner Truth
[3] Truth, too, will be sought in our age only in the depths of human nature. Of the following two well-known paths described by Schiller, it is the second that will today be found most useful:

We both seek truth; you in outer life,
I in the heart within. Each of us are sure to find it.
The healthy eye can track the Creator in the outer world;
The healthy heart mirrors the world within.
Bulwer

Truth that comes to us from outside always bears the stamp of uncertainty. Each one of us is only convinced of truth when he recognizes it within his own inner life.

0.2 Empowered By Truth
[4] Truth alone can give us certainty in developing our individual powers. He who is tormented by doubts finds his powers weakened. If baffled by a world full of riddles, he can find no goal for his activity.

0.3 Comprehensible Truth
[5] We no longer want to believe; we want to know. Belief demands the acceptance of truths without having the insight to fully understand. Not experiencing insight goes against our individuality, that wants to experience everything in the depths of its inner core. The only knowing that satisfies us is the kind that submits to no external norm, but springs from the inner life of the personality.

0.4 Advancing In Knowledge From Experience
[6] Nor do we want the kind of knowing encased in rigid academic rules, and stored away as valid for all time. Each of us considers himself justified to start from his own life experiences, from the facts closest to hand, and advancing from there to cognition of the whole universe. We strive for certainty in knowledge, but each in his own way.

0.5 Driven To A View By Own Need
[7] Nor should the teachings of science be presented in a way that implies its acceptance is compulsory. None of us would give a scientific work a title like Fichte once did: “A Crystal Clear Report to the General Public on the Actual Nature of the Latest Philosophy. An Attempt to Compel the Reader to Understand.” Today, no one should be compelled to understand. We expect neither recognition nor agreement from anyone who is not moved to a certain view by his own particular, individual needs. We do not want to cram facts of knowledge into even an immature human being, a child. We try to develop the child's capacities in such a way that he no longer needs to be compelled to understand, but wants to understand.

0.6 Living The Principles Of Individuality
[8] I have no illusions as to the characteristics of the present time. I know how much a stereotypical attitude, lacking all individuality, is prevalent everywhere. Many flaunt a way of life that follows only the current cultural trends. But I also know that many of my contemporaries strive to conduct their lives in the direction of the principles I have suggested. To them I dedicate this book. It is not meant to offer the "only possible" way to Truth, but to describe the path taken by one for whom truth is central.

0.7 Practicing Pure Thinking
[9] At first the reader is lead into abstract regions, where thought must draw sharp outlines to reach clearly defined positions. But the reader is also led from arid concepts into concrete life. I am fully convinced that to experience life in all its aspects, one must soar into the realm of concepts. Whoever is limited to the pleasures of the senses misses the sweetest joys of life.

The oriental sage requires his disciples to live a life of resignation and asceticism for years before he shares with them what he knows. The West no longer demands pious exercises and ascetic practices to attain knowledge. It does require, however, a sincere willingness to prepare for science by withdrawing oneself awhile from the immediate impressions of life, and enter the realm of pure thought.

0.8 A Wholistic Approach To Science, Art, And Philosophy
[10] There are many regions of life. A specific field of science develops for each one. But life itself is a unity, and the more the sciences immerse themselves in separate fields, the more they move away from seeing the world as a living whole. It is essential to have a wholistic knowing that seeks in the separate sciences the principles for leading man back to the fullness of life. The aim of the scientific specialist's research is to gain knowledge of the world and how it works. The aim of this book is philosophical: science itself is to become a living whole. The various branches of science are preparatory stages on the way to the wholistic science intended here.

A similar relationship governs the arts. A composer works on the basis of the theory of composition. This theory is an accumulation of principles of what one needs to know in order to compose music. In composing, the rules of theory serve life, that is, theory serves actual reality.

In the same way philosophy is an art. All genuine philosophers have been artists in the conceptual realm. For them, human Ideas become their artistic material and the wholistic method of science their artistic technique. Abstract thinking takes on an individual life of its own. Ideas become powerful forces in life. We no longer  merely know about things, but have made knowing into a real self-governing organism, ruled by its own laws. Our actual working consciousness has lifted itself above a mere passive reception of truths.

0.9 A Science Of Freedom
[10] The main theme of my book concerns these questions: How philosophy, as an art, relates to freedom; what freedom is; and whether we do, or can, participate in it. Scientific discussions are included because it is science, at long last, that will throw light on these most immediate human questions. These pages offer a "Philosophy of Freedom."

0.10 Reaching The Human Ideal
[11] All science would be nothing but the satisfaction of idle curiosity, if it does not elevate the existential value of human personality. The sciences attain true value only by showing that their results have significance for man. The ultimate aim of an individuality cannot be the cultivation of only a single capacity. Rather, it must be the development of all the potential that slumbers within us. Knowledge has value only by contributing to the all-around development of the whole of human nature.

0.11 Ethical Use Of Science
[12] This book does not regard the relationship of science to life in such a way that the human being must bow down before the world of Ideas and devote his powers to its service. On the contrary, it shows that he takes possession of the world of Ideas to use them for his human goals. These extend beyond those of mere science.

0.12 Master Of Ideas
[13] One must confront an Idea as master, experiencing it; otherwise one falls into its bondage.

END

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Comments

  • 0.1 Seeking Truth Within
    [3] Truth, too, will be sought in our age only in the depths of human nature. Of the following two well-known paths described by Schiller, it is the second that will today be found most useful:

    We both seek truth; you in outer life,
    I in the heart within. Each of us are sure to find it.
    The healthy eye can track the Creator in the outer world;
    The healthy heart mirrors the world within.
    Bulwer

    Truth that comes to us from outside always bears the stamp of uncertainty. Each one of us is only convinced of truth when he recognizes it within his own inner life.

    This poem is too vague for me. The chapter discusses the role of personality in the search for truth. The heart is certainly involved in "The Goal Of Knowledge", the chapter title. Human passion can drive our search for knowledge and give us certainty. I think the heart and compassion influence the questions we ask and what we want to achieve with knowledge. Your question seems to be more about knowing the world.

    The healthy eye can track the Creator in the outer world;
    The healthy heart mirrors the world within.

    The healthy eye can through the world the great Creator track;
    The healthy heart is but the glass which gives Creation back.

    Is the eye healthy, it meets the creator without;
    Is the heart so, it surely mirrors the world within.

    If the eye is healthy, it meets the Creator without;
    If the heart is healthy, it surely mirrors the world within.

  • We both seek truth; you in outer life,
    I in the heart within. Each of us are sure to find it.
    The healthy eye can track the Creator in the outer world;
    The healthy heart mirrors the world within.  <-------(Does this mean you find truth in the outer and inner realms together?)

  • This is great. These are the kind of suggestions that are useful. They best be posted in the format below under the latest "readable" chapter translation on the front page, Preface, Chp 1 - 3.

    J S:

    0.0 Striving For Individuality
    [1] I BELIEVE one of the fundamental characteristics of our age is that human interest centers in the culture of individuality. An energetic effort is being made to shake off any kind of authority. Nothing is accepted as valid, unless it springs from the roots of individuality. Anything that hinders the individual person from developing his personal powers is pushed aside. The saying “Each one of us must choose his own hero in whose footsteps he follows up to Mount Olympus” no longer holds true for us. We allow no ideals to be forced upon us. We are convinced that in each of us, if only we examine deeply enough into the very heart of our being, there exists something noble, something worthy of development. We no longer believe there is a norm of human life to which we must all strive to conform. We favor the perfection of the whole as depending on the unique perfection of each single individual. We do not want to do what anyone else can do equally well. No [the “No” can be confusing], our contribution to the development of the world, no matter how trivial, must be something that, by understanding the uniqueness of our nature, we alone can offer. The artist of today has never been concerned with rules and norms when creating his work. Each creative person asserts his right to express, in the creations of his art, what is unique in him. As scriptwriters who write in slang rather than conform to the standard diction grammar demands.

    [2] No better expression for these phenomena can be found than this, they result from the individual’s striving towards freedom, developed to its highest pitch. We do not want to be dependent in any respect, and where dependence must be, we tolerate it only on condition it coincides with a vital interest of our individuality.

    • These first 2 paragraphs are unique from the rest of the book. They are a rebellious, inspiring, and anarchist individualist statement that reflects the young Steiner's mood the book is written in. Readability has to be careful here not to dampen the mood. Steiner was sympathetic to the anarchist view at that time. There is only the Hoernle translation because these paragraphs were removed 25 years later by the older more traditional Steiner in 1918. This is why these words need to maintain their cutting edge and poetic feel. The word “every” is sharper than “any”. “Thrust” is sharper than “pushed”. “full” development vs. developing, “toils” vs. follows, “No”, “reason” vs understanding, “Never” have artists. I know words like toil, probe, trifling, dwells, are not very readable, but they are more poetic in an old English style. The rest of Part I is more science and technical.

      Note: there are no final decisions, we can continue translation discussions where ever and when ever. (until publication time) The book will be free online and sold at cost in book form.

      Edit: The new translation will be available free online and published at cost as a group project.
      Edit: I incorporated the recommended changes below.

      0.0 Striving For Individuality (revisions in dark)
      [1] I BELIEVE one of the fundamental characteristics of our age is that human interest centers in the culture of individuality. An energetic effort is being made to shake off every kind of authority. Nothing is accepted as valid, unless it springs from the roots of individuality. Everything that hinders the individual from fully developing his powers is thrust aside. The saying “Each one of us must choose his hero in whose footsteps he toils up Mount Olympus” no longer holds true for us. We allow no ideals to be forced upon us. We are convinced that in each of us, if only we probe deep enough into the very heart of our being, there dwells something noble, something worthy of development. We no longer believe there is a norm of human life to which we must all strive to conform. We regard the perfection of the whole as depending on the unique perfection of each single individual. We do not want to do what anyone else can do equally well. No, our contribution to the development of the world, however trifling, must be something that, by reason of the uniqueness of our nature, we alone can offer. Never have artists been less concerned about rules and norms in art than today. Each one asserts the right to express, in the creations of his art, what is unique in him. Just as there are scriptwriters who write in slang rather than conform to the standard diction grammar demands.

      • Thank you for posting and the explanation. Don't you think the older Steiner was more experience and decide to have a more neutral perspective? Anyway, this is very helpful. Thank you again.

        • Your revisions are providing some out of the box readability suggestions that can't be found in the other 10 existing translations.

          The young Steiner got in trouble publicly, when he was trying to publish a magazine, when he was accused of being a sympathizer to (non-violent) anarchist ideas. The older Steiner has his group, the Anthroposophical Society, so you have to be careful about how you are perceived. I think the young and old Steiner had the same heart, but it is different when you are the leader of a group. That is why I can be free in my work with The Philosophy Of Freedom. I don't have to worry about offending the traditionalists. Rita Stebbing, anthroposophist, wrote a more liberal translation in 1988 and 4 years later took it all back with another translation that fit into the traditional box of another literal translation. I can only guess her liberal translation was not well received. It still is the most readable translation, but has disappeared.

          I am not associated with any group so I don't have to worry about my position or employment. I can think outside the box of anthroposophy without being criticized, or even noticed. The new translation will speak for itself when readers compare it to their existing translation. And it will be a community project. 

          I knew the existing translations and even Steiner's writing was a mess. Every day I find it to be so confusing and misleading that a person today has no chance of working through it. Steiner said it should be re-written in a hundred years (1994). I thought this request would not be fulfilled as nobody seemed able to rewrite it according to our cultural times. But this project's revisions may not look that different on the surface, but a major rewrite is happening on a deeper level. Who knows, maybe we are different in a way that these kind of changes are what he meant. That the book is really not a mess, at least it wasn't 100 years ago, but today it appears as a mess because we are different than a reader of 100 years ago.

          Edit: An interesting note. The original German edition was written in 1894. Steiner wanted a culturally updated edition in 100 years. The first English edition was written in 1916, which would make it culturally appropriate for 1916. So a new English edition would be needed in 2016.

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